Saturday, October 20, 2012

Anywherefit Update

WALES: November 16-18  Spaces still available

BUENOS AIRES - SANTIAGO: February 8-18th  4 Spots left!!!

Don't hesitate people, jump on this opportunity.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reebok CF One

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

Back Squat 5 x 5 (275#, 295#, 315#, 335#, 355#)
Rack Deadlift 3 x 3 (405#, 425#, 455#)
Snatch Grip Deadlift 3 x 15 (225#)
GHD Raise 3 x 10
Hollow Rocks 3 x 25

WOD 2 - in the evening...

3 rounds for time:
7 muscle ups
21 kb swings (32 kg)

I'm here in Canton spending a few days with the folks at Reebok Headquarters for their annual retail summit.  It's been awhile since the last time I was here and things have certainly changed.  Driving up the main driveway the first thing I saw were 100 foot decals across the broad faced windows running the entire length of the main campus building that read 3, 2, 1...  GO!  Pretty cool entrance for a company that does a lot more than just crossfit.  Inside the walls, it's more of the same.  Frames that used to be filled with Eli Manning and Chad Johnson are now filled with Froning and Thorisdottir.  Every office I walked past, be it the legal department, the marketing department, or the design department, was covered in crossfit stickers.  The box itself has tripled in size, currently serving over 500 members, all Reebok employees.

I got to train today with some old friends from the Games, the oldest of which was Ben Smith.  Really exciting to hear he is opening his own gym in the Mid-Atlantic.  We did the second workout today throw down style and I was hoping to get through everything unbroken.  Well, that didn't quite happen.       I went through the first round unbroken but when I came back to the rings it was another story entirely. I had to break up the muscle ups on each of the next 2 rounds.  The swings I was able to stay more consistent, but Ben still got me on the workout.  My time was 5:25 and his was 4:50.  Definitely still have a ways to go when it comes to workouts so intensive on the grip.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tennis and Gymnastics

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

Tennis is the park

WOD 2 - in the afternoon...

Adult gymnastics class

Continuing with the theme of less Crossfitty training this week, I played tennis today with my roommate.  It'd been a little while so the rust was obvious early on, but before long we were neck deep in a competitive set full of serve and volleys, passing shots, and long rallies.  Honestly, tennis is one of my favorite sports to play--right up there with beach volleyball.  The reactive nature of it, the combination of power and finesse, and the need for creativity are hard to find in such wonderful combination in ordinary training.  Again, this is the beauty of sports that involve an opponent.  You don't know what action you're going to be required to perform until you need to perform it.  It becomes a true test of your readiness to act; or, if we stretch the definition a tad, your general physical preparedness.  I am happy to report that my conditioning and power were more than up for the challenge.  My coordination and agility could stand a little tuning up, however.  Sport specific skill like swinging a racquet will obviously only improve with practice, just like hitting the pocket on a snatch will only get better through repetitive lifting, so I can't be too disappointed that I was hitting the ball like Federer.  I was happy to see how quickly I was improving, though.  Such skills come back faster once they've been acquired, provide we tune them up every now and then with a little practice.

Later on in the day, I rejoined the adult gymnastics class at International Gymnastics Centre in West Sacramento from which I'd taken a month hiatus.  As usual we dove right into the tumbling mat, working on front flips and standing back tucks.  By far my best performance on these skills, almost to the point where I'm planning on practicing them on my own back at the box (we have our own spring floor now!).  Afterwards we got on the high bar and learned a few pieces of a standard routine including a glide kip, reverse rollover, and basic castaways.  Super fun and satisfying to be able to pick up the new stuff and feel good doing it.  This week off has been really productive in terms of applying the fitness and capacity I train so hard to acquire.  It's made me all the more motivated to keep training hard and stay injury free to keep progressing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Indoor Climbing

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

100 empty bar box squats

WOD 2 - in the afternoon...

1 hour indoor bouldering

As the rest week progresses, today was yet another variation on how to stay active without imparting serious stress to the joints or intensity to the nervous system.  Picking routes that challenge my novice climbing level wasn't hard, so I basically ended up playing for an hour while getting a decent sweat.  Aside from the obvious coordination and balance benefits inherent in this activity, climbing offers a great way to strengthen your grip and highlight your limitations from a flexibility perspective.  If you can't stretch or contort your body into every position imaginable, it's going to be exposed on the wall.  This has always been one of my favorite de-load from training activities and it'll continue to be so.  If you haven't tried it someplace, look a location up and give it a shot.  Cheap, fun, and addicting.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Air Dyne as Recovery

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

2 mile air dyne @ 3000 RPM

WOD 2 - in the afternoon...

Bar muscle up practice

The name of the game today was moderation.  A little time on the air dyne to get the blood moving and some skill practice in the afternoon to figure out some technical cues.  Made some real improvement on the bar muscle up by watching the way gymnasts get up on a bar.  For some reason it never clicked how to time the hip pop on this movement until tonight.  All of a sudden things felt different, and a lot easier.  I think the limiting factor from now on will be my grip, and that's a good problem to have.

Monday, October 8, 2012

10/1 Week in Review

WOD 1 – in the morning…
Handstand balancing and blocking
WOD 2 – in the afternoon…
Box Squat doubles (unknown # of sets, but it was a lot)
Band Deadlifts up to 375# + band tension
Romanian Deadlift 4 x 6 @ 245#
Seated Row 4 x 10
Sled Pull 5 x 30 yards

WOD 1 – in the morning…
Strict Press 10 x 2 up to 175#
Bent Row 5 x 5 up to 215#
Strict toes to bar 3 x max
Pulley extensions 3 x 60 feet @ 53#
WOD 2 – in the afternoon…
5 rounds for time (18:00):
20 walking lunge (135#)
100 meter farmers carry (24 kg)
20 meter handstand walk

WOD 1 – in the morning…
2 Snatch every minute on the minute @ 215#
Hang Clean and Jerk 5 x 1 + 20 second overhead hold – top set 265#
Front Squat 4 x 4 up to 295# (3)

WOD 1 – in the morning…
3 mile mountain run in Hope Valley (31:36)

Week 3 in my new program went well, but my body is feeling it.  The highlights came earlier in the week as I’m continuing to feel stronger and stronger during squats and deads with the guys down at Super Training.  I was sore as hell from the Romanians throughout the week, but not the kind of soreness that prevents you from doing anything else.  From there, however, I felt pretty average the rest of the week.  Strict press strength was decent, not great.  My handstand walking skills were pretty shotty during Thursday’s conditioning workout, most likely a result of the taxed posterior chain.  I just couldn’t gain much control over myself trying to move forward.  The snatches at 215# were rough.  My emotm sets looked like this:
1)XX 2)XF 3)FF 4)XX 5)FF 6)XF 7)XF 8)XF 9)XF 10)FX.  In all, I made 10 out of 20 attempts.  Great training and practice at hitting a heavy load while tired, but still hoped for a better, more consistent showing.  The hang cleans actually went well and the front squats the same, but nothing spectacular.  I will say that my core stability and balance felt better—this I attribute to the dedication to assistance movements and heavy loading at ST. 

Finally, coming back Sunday in Hope Valley for a mountain run was a dose of reality.  Straight smoked me.  My lower back, ass, and hamstrings were nowhere near full strength and my conditioning level was no match for the 7000+ feet of elevation.  I was walking the steeper inclines just to try and keep moving, running the flatter portions when I could, but overall I could feel the lack of running the past few weeks.  This is a setback I’m willing to swallow if it helps me get stronger. 

Below is the video from the 5 rounder on Thursday.  Rest week coming up with some active recovery and fun variations.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fitness Is...


Demand it.

Emerson wrote that “so much of our time is preparation, so much routine, and so much retrospect, that the pith of each man’s genius contracts itself to a very few hours.”  Think about that.  In all the days, weeks, years, and decades of our lives we may accumulate a few hours of brilliance.  It sounds staggering, but consider the average day of the average person and you’ll see that it’s true.  We constantly prepare, organize, and review; we make list upon list, complete task upon task, and amidst it all our life is being lived without our taking notice.  It’s as though we spend all our time framing the picture with little concern for the depth of its color. 
You might argue that the average person doesn’t care for “genius,” but observe how we worship our heroes and you’ll see your mistake.  Musicians, actors, and athletes are worshiped like gods.  Fortune 500 CEO’s are petitioned for their opinions and advice.  Doctors and lawyers are universally respected and admired.  We have an undeniable fascination with the brilliant but demand of ourselves little more than organized drudgery.  We’re hypocrites of expectation, and distracted ones at that.

This is the way I sometimes feel about fitness.  Everyone waxes on about the sports they used to play, the soreness they never used to feel, and the good old days before video games.  They obsess about how their bodies will age, if they’ll ever be content with the way they look, and what type of kids & grandkids they’ll raise.  These are basic human fears and concerns, and I get that—we all feel the same doubts about our future and the same nostalgia for our past.  But all of you out there hiding behind the things you might or used to do, wake up!  Your situation, your stories… they’re not unique!  Your injuries, illnesses, and general physical incompetence in the present are not offset by the memories of a healthy youth.  The only person I respect less than the guy paralyzed by his limitations, is the guy content to stay that way. 
Now, I’m not saying it’s bad to look back on what we’ve done or ahead to what we’ll do, but a wide lens makes for grainy resolution if never focused in.  That’s what this article is about: zeroing in on the present and taking action.  Everyone is quick to tell me how fit they used to be or will soon become—the reality is that talk is cheap. Stop settling for average and start maximizing those few hours of genius you have left.

What is Genius?

This is the PR lift, the burst of energy at the end of a workout, or the conquering of a once impossible skill.  It’s the satisfaction felt during a day spent skiing across the mountains or swimming in the ocean.  Often it’s found in our deepest, most absolute exhaustion.  The proof of this brilliance are the moments of clarity and peace that inevitably follow it; when you’re certain you will be more successful, more adventurous, and more fit every day thereafter.  This is our intended state: extremely focused, super-conscious, and happy.
Moments like these are usually few and fleeting, not because they are hard to come by, but because they require a particular purity of thought that we rarely find ourselves enjoying.  Typically our brains are so overwhelmed with the shit storm of duties and expectations that we can’t help but be distracted from the job at hand.  This is the guy who racks his nerves before every snatch attempt, or grips his driver so tightly that his knuckles turn white.  There’s no way this guy is going to perform well consistently because there’s too much internal tension polluting his actions.  What’s more, he won’t fully enjoy his accomplishments when he does succeed because his brain will have already moved on to the next pressure packed situation. 

Contrast this with the calm, decisive behavior of someone who is alone in the moment.  For this individual, no problem is too big to handle, no set of circumstances too overwhelming.  His brain and body are free to act without restraint, rendering life simple, lucid, and real.  He is connected to the present and sees only that which he needs to see.  Safe to say that he hits more PR’s and more fairways than his buddy.  Also safe to assume he enjoys his success more.
What does it take for us to perform this way consistently?

First, we must learn to live in those moments.  And not the cheesy, jump out of an airplane today because you might die tomorrow kind of living in the moment. I’m talking about stripping away all the white noise and truly tuning in.  Imagine yourself in a state of mind so vital that every second demands your immediate attention. It shocks you for its sharp edge, shakes you from your autopilot slumber and thrusts you back upon the real world.  Never were you so focused, so calm, so self-reliant.  The rightness of it is exhilarating and free, prompting an immediate self-reflection as to why so much life has passed since you felt this alive.

This is what it’s like to be in the moment.  Time dissipates because it no longer winds you.  Space retreats because it no longer places you. Your being is all-encompassing and uniform, satisfied with solitude and breath.  In this state the concepts of past and future are meaningless.  Expectation and stress pass like rumors through your brain.  You are the unfiltered, unquestionable, uninhibited self to whom all is clear and uncomplicated.  
It shouldn’t be hard to get to this place because each of us secretly wishes for more moments like this, where each breath and thought comes thick as oil.  Stop ignoring them as merely temporary highs and beckon back.  Truly, this is the slip of the soul into its proper rhythm.  The relief and balance found there need not be the reprieve from your staccato life, but the re-definition of how you choose to live. 
Exercise is a pathway toward this awakening if we allow it to be.  The difficult nature of it forces us to forsake life’s many accompaniments and focus only on the now.  Having done this, we are liberated from our habits and routines, creating for ourselves a pocket in time where nothing else matters.  A truly unaffected moment. Our brains get out of the way—we stop thinking, planning, and calculating outcomes, and are content to simply train, and train hard.  Think of the time your coach snuck 10 extra pounds on the bar and you PR’d without knowing it.  Or the time you ran a mile with nothing in your head but the rhythm of your feet and the breath in your chest.  You weren't stressing over the outcome or worrying about your career.  Genius in the moment offers itself to the willing, but most of us are too distracted to recognize it.  We ought to be rising to meet the present at every stroke like consciously raging bulls, moment seizers, chasers of the light.  

Second, we must acknowledge and commit to the fact that everyone can improve.  Gone are the days of “I used to…” this and “before my kids” that.  You’re not too old.  You’re not too hurt.  You’re just scared and lazy.  You like living in the past because it’s easier than dealing with the present.  You prefer to explain the reasons why you can’t do something because it’s easier than fighting for the reasons you can.  It’s a mental shift from inaction to action, from spectator to player, from middling to genius. 
Sometimes our greatest honor is that of designated outlier.  So stand alone.  Be the one your friends tell stories about, the one that looks half their age and isn’t slowing down.  Embrace the present and excel.  If I never hear someone tell me, “When I was your age…” it’ll be too soon.  What do I care what you could do at my age? For that matter, what do you?  If we’re out hiking together and I break my ankle, you sure as hell better not tell me some story about what you could’ve done to help when you were my age.  Pick me up, bear my weight, and get me home.  Emerson would respect that and so would I.